Saturday, September 10, 2011

Poor, Poor Righthaven

They are asking a federal judge to delay enforcement of a $34,000 judgment against them because it would push them into bankruptcy.  From the ever useful Steven Green at Vegas Inc.:

Despite its backing by the billionaire Warren Stephens family, Las Vegas copyright lawsuit filer Righthaven LLC warned today it may have to file for bankruptcy because of a series of setbacks in its litigation campaign.

The warning came in an emergency request by Righthaven to a federal judge in Las Vegas that he stay his order that Righthaven pay $34,045 in legal fees to attorneys who successfully defended Kentucky message board poster Wayne Hoehn against a Righthaven lawsuit.
Gee, if only Righthaven had been similarly concerned about the people it was suing in its no-warning lawsuits....

In addition, MediaNews Group, owner of the Denver Post (and many other newspapers) is dropping its contract with Righthaven at the end of the month.  The new CEO calls the Righthaven contract (done by his predecessor) a "dumb idea."

Of course, Righthaven going bankrupt doesn't solve the problem.  Its newspaper partners are still on the hook for damages they caused, and Righthaven's CEO, Steve Gibson, is potentially at personal risk.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

A ways back, you mentioned that you'd been told of a "silver bullet" that would eventually take Righthaven down.

Was that silver bullet standing?

In any event, I'm petty enough to enjoy watching Righthaven and Gibson twisting in the wind.

It's going to be interesting to see what MediaNews' new owner does with them.

Clayton said...

The silver bullet was that they did not actually own the copyright for which they were suing. You can imagine how this is going to look when the class action suit on behalf of those who settled out of court based on that false claim comes to court.

Anonymous said...

Most class action lawsuits that I've become aware of (usually because I get a letter informing me that I'm part of an extremely broad class, along the lines of "people who have shopped at Walmart in the past two years") are clear money-grabs by the attorneys involved -- and if I ran the justice system, those suits would be thrown out of court on general principle.

However, this class action lawsuit is one I can wholeheartedly approve of.

Clayton said...

I have seen class action lawsuits that are indeed just money grabs. Some years ago, there was a class action lawsuit filed against Remington, claiming that they used inferior grade steel in Remington 870 shotgun barrels. As hard I tried, I could not find that there were any injuries, or functional deficiencies. Owners got $15 each; the bulk of the money went to the lawyers.

But class action lawsuits can be a good strategy when there are large numbers of injured parties, and the amount of injury is individually small. Would it make sense to sue over a $20 problem? No. But if hundreds of thousands suffered small losses, then class action suits can act as a useful way to keep a mass market producer honest. The lawyers are still likely to end up with most of the money, but the punitive effect is the major advantage. Now, if we could just figure out a way to keep that money from going from the lawyers to the Democratic National Committee.